Granville College enables animal lovers to find a new career helping pets recuperate

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      Adel Reyes had what many would consider a dream job, working as a flight attendant. But she found that even though the destinations were different depending on which route she was on, the tasks were repetitive, and she yearned for something different.

      Reyes is also an animal lover with two dogs, and she started doing Internet research to find out how to become a veterinary technician assistant.

      She eventually selected Granville College, enrolling in January 2016, which later helped her find employment in a Langley animal hospital.

      In fact, she was offered her job in the first week of a three-week practicum arranged through the college.

      “As a veterinary technician assistant, we have to ask the questions,” Reyes said. “Then we have to get all that information and relay it to the veterinary doctor.”

      She expressed great satisfaction with her training at Granville College. It included instruction on how a veterinary technician assistant should prepare an animal for surgery.

      In addition, Reyes learned about animal parasites, zoonotic viruses, medical conditions affecting various animals, and a host of other topics. She also knows how to assess if a canine’s heart rate is dangerously high or low.

      The administrator at Granville College, Paulina Dabrowski, said that the veterinary technician assistant program emphasizes learning skills that are required on the job. Animals are brought into the school to help students understand what they need to do before they go into the workforce.

      "They have to practise all the different positions for holding the animals down for a blood sample versus how to hold them down when you take a urine sample," Dabrowski said.

      Granville College also has surgical instruments on-site to ensure students are knowledgeable about the tools of the trade.

      "We're really trying to focus on a good balance between theory and practical use ineverything we teach," Dabrowski said.

      Granville College was the first school in Canada to offer instruction to veterinary assistants. It's now in its 24th year and on April 3, Granville College will start its 100th class.

      At the cliinic, Reyes enjoys being the first point of contact when people bring in dogs with respiratory problems or diarrhea.

      “Maybe they just ingested something wrong,” Reyes said. “But if it’s a puppy, it could be parvovirus, which would be very bad.”

      She appreciates how comprehensive her education was at Granville College.

      For example, even before starting her job she already knew how to wrap an animal before it went into surgery.

      “You have to do it very tightly,” Reyes stated. “The looser it is, the more bacteria that will get into it. You have to perfect that [wrapping] with a certain way of folding.”

      She’s seen some unusual things in her time at the clinic, including a hamster with a prolapsed penis. As a veterinary technician assistant, she had to ask questions of the client just as she would about any other animal’s medical condition.

      One thing is certain: there’s none of the monotonous repetition that Reyes experienced as a flight attendant. And if Reyes was looking for variety in a career, she certainly found that, thanks to Granville College.

      Granville College student Sarah Coon with Lucy.
      Jeannie Manguiaut
      Prospective students interested in going on a tour of Granville College can email Paulina Dabrowski at